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'Red Bull deal would be smart for Honda'

Decision imminent from former world champions on 2016 engine plans

Image: Red Bull bosses Christian Horner and Helmut Marko were spotted in talks with McLaren chief Eric Boullier at the Russian GP

Supplying Red Bull with engines in 2016 would be a smart move for Honda, according to Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle.

After the former world champions' request for a 2016 supply of engines was rejected by both Mercedes and Ferrari, speculation broke in the US GP paddock on Friday that Red Bull have approached Honda about a deal for next season.

Honda, who currently only supply McLaren, have endured a dreadful season upon their return to F1 and Brundle believes they would benefit from powering a second outfit.

"It would be smart from Honda's point of view to have two teams developing their engines. Red Bull need an engine and l think what this tells us is that, despite all the bluster, Red Bull don't want to leave F1 and they want to find a solution," Brundle told Sky Sports News HQ.

"It would be a great solution for Honda because it would fast-track their performance and gives them a benchmark between the chassis of McLaren and the chassis of Red Bull. Honda will get it right sooner or later - although it could be later."

However, even if Honda and Red Bull were to agree a deal, it remains questionable whether such an arrangement would square with the warning of owner Dietrich Mateschitz that he would be prepared to withdraw both Red Bull and Toro Rosso from F1 if his teams were unable to secure a 'competitive' supply of engines.

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At present, the Honda units are the weakest on the grid, short on both power and reliability, and are even behind the Renault V6s which Red Bull have publicly castigated throughout 2015.

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"I walk up and down this paddock, I talk to people and I become convinced a solution has been sorted for Red Bull then I talk to someone else and I am convinced they are leaving. I just don't know," conceded Brundle.

What is for certain is that Red Bull are already running out of time to conclude a deal for next season.

"I think we are going to get a decision this weekend," predicted Sky F1's Ted Kravitz. "A decision certainly has to be made by the end of October which would be the Mexican GP next weekend - that was Red Bull's self-imposed, absolute deadline."

According to paddock rumours, Toro Rosso are open to accepting a year-old supply of engines from Ferrari, while McLaren are said to be unconvinced about the merits of their partners powering Red Bull.

Reports in Germany have suggested that the concerns of Ron Dennis, the McLaren boss, could be alleviated by any deal between Red Bull and Honda being limited to just a single season.

"If McLaren have a problem with this, it would be commercial and performance based - it won't be personal," added Brundle. "It's a question of whether McLaren would be concerned that their energy with Honda would be diluted, but maybe it won't be an issue because perhaps Red Bull will just end up with Renault again. What's going to happen? I just don't know."

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